One of the problems that many of us run into as owners of home businesses or small businesses is that there seems to be too much going on. It’s easy to get distracted. One of the ways to find better small business success is to take a step back and practice mindfulness.
Dr. Romie Mushtaq is a neurologist and a mind-body expert. She believes that mindfulness can help you focus better, increasing your productivity. If you want to better your small business results — or even boost your productivity results in your “regular” career — some of Mustaq’s tips can help.
1. Forget the Multitasking
Studies show that multitasking actually leads to less productivity. Multitasking doesn’t work, and it can slow you down. Instead of multitasking, Mushtaq suggests that you focus on a single task for a specific amount of time. “Resist the urge to answer the phone every time it rings,” she says.
This goes for email, checking your Facebook, or any other interruption. Figure out which tasks are most important, and concentrate on those first. Do one thing at a time, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.
2. Take a Break
In many cases, we have a hard time focusing because we are starting to feel burn out. This is especially true for me at times. After a while, it’s hard to focus. If this is the case, it’s ok to take a break. In fact, a break can help you break through the doldrums holding you back. “Offering your sense pleasant and different stimulation rewires your brain for relaxation, and reduces the effects of stress hormones, which helps to unfreeze your creativity center,” says Mushtaq.
Studies also show that taking strategic breaks can help you refocus your energy to tackle the task again later. I know that I am often ready to get more done if I take a break during the middle of the day to exercise, eat lunch, and relax a little bit.
Your break can also be improved with the help of medication. Even if you simply close your eyes and breath deeply for two minutes, you can gain some of the benefits of meditation and refocus.
One of the ways you can take advantage of planned breaks to help your focus and productivity is with the Pomodoro technique. This technique provides you with a way to focus intently and then take timed breaks. This keeps you from getting too involved with your break, and it also helps you re-center yourself so that you can move on to the next task.
3. Learn to Delegate
Sometimes, you need to ask for help. In your own small business, this might mean delegating some tasks to others. A couple of years ago I hired a virtual assistant to help me with some of the more mundane tasks that were taking up my time. I knew that I needed to free up time for more important and difficult tasks.
“Have compassion for yourself, and reach out for help,” suggests Mushtaq. “This will not only allow you to focus on the tasks that most need your attention, it will reduce your stress.”
As your small business grows, it becomes especially important to be mindful of the tasks that are going to yield the best benefits for you down the road. You want to be able to focus on the things that will provide you with the best return for your time and effort. Asking for help so that you can focus on the more important items is essential if you want to succeed.
Learn to be aware of your work environment, and your needs as a small business owner. Practices like meditation, exercise, and sufficient sleep can help you better focus your mind so that you are able to accomplish more in the long run.